Near Marquette in northwest Iowa, the 25 mile Backpack Trail meanders through 8,500 acres of oak-hickory forest rife with wild turkeys, deer, Coopers hawks, and woodchucks and leads to big views of the Paint Creek Valley. From forest headquarters, take the west route, up and over a ridge along the Bluff Trail section of the loop, 8.5 miles to the Hefferns Hill backpack campsite. The next night, camp in the steep valley of Browns Hollow, about six miles farther on, and then follow the loop back to headquarters.
To reach the hiking trailhead from Marquette, on the Mississippi, drive 12 miles north on SR 76, turn right on CR B25, and drive four miles to forest headquarters.
Overall, Yellow River Backpack Trail is the 1st most popular hiking trail of all 9 hikes in Iowa.